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'Homeless' Rosie Boycott gives us all food for thought

PUBLISHED: 09:52 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:20 07 September 2010

At the weekend I watched former Fleet Street editor Rosie Boycott taking to the slums and the homeless shelters for a riveting BBC documentary on life on the streets. This was the Real McCoy, as they say, with Rosie and other celebs begging, sleeping and

At the weekend I watched former Fleet Street editor Rosie Boycott taking to the slums and the homeless shelters for a riveting BBC documentary on life on the streets.

This was the Real McCoy, as they say, with Rosie and other celebs begging, sleeping and eating with the drug and drink-addled homeless in real life situations - then being harangued by Big Issue founder John Bird for following their natural human instincts and trying to lend a helping hand to these desperate people. ''You're not in this to be social workers, you're in it to experience how they live,'' bellowed John, or words to that effect.

It looked genuinely harrowing - especially for the poor homeless chap who had to get along with actor Bruce Jones. He's the one who played Les Battersby in Coronation Street and he's scarier in real life than he was in the soap.

It was reassuring, then, to find Rosie fully recovered from her ordeal in the more salubrious surroundings of City Hall on Tuesday night.

She was talking to me at length about her role as Mayor Boris Johnson's food guru -and her pet project is encouraging the growing of food in the most unlikely places, like disused skips and abandoned building sites.

What a great idea. It has to be encouraged, and I wonder if there is a street in Ham&High land that would take up the mantle of growing food where it's never been grown before.

Not for the first time, we could show the rest of the capital how it's done. There's food for thought...

Geoff Martin

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